Pest control companies that want to reach today’s tech-savvy customers are going to have to make some changes to their operations, advises David Bradford, CFO, Environmental Pest Service.
“Pest control companies still rely on the personal touch—phones and in-person contacts to get new customers. But they will have to change. The pest control industry is lagging in sophistication and the use of technology, particularly in the customer acquisition process,” Bradford said.
Environmental Pest Service set up its own brainstorming group, with representatives from different departments and different age groups looking at these issues. “We were trying to come up with a strategy not only to communicate with customers now and in the future but also try to think specifically about how to communicate with the millennial generation that’s starting to buy homes now,” Bradford added. “We are very conscious about moving to a platform that allows those who don’t want to pick up a telephone or meet with somebody to order pest control services through a device or over the internet.”
“One of the specific technical things that we are really focusing on—and what we think is almost a necessity—is the idea of streamlining interactions with our customers via text and SMS messaging,” said Wade Stankich, director of IT at Environmental Pest Services. “We’re looking at vendors now specifically in text-to-pay and account management transactions via text and mobile phones,”
Electronic home assistants such as Echo and Alexa may offer other opportunities. “There is some targeted marketing that you can do there. If someone with one of these assistants sees an ant on the floor, they can quickly find their local pest control company and order the service with their voice through the system,” Stankich said.
The brainstorming group at Environmental Pest Service is also considering several other millennial-friendly strategies, like car wraps that would attract their attention or different styles or colors of uniforms that would be more appealing to them. The company does realize, however, that it will need to employ a variety of targeted marketing and advertising strategies to appeal to customers in various age groups and in certain geographic areas.
By Mary Lou Jay